Saturday was the Passion for Flashin’ competition.
A day after this competition, I am very introspective. I’ve been climbing for about 2.5 years now, and this was the second time I’ve competed. The first was in December. In that first competition I competed in the Intermediate category and felt like I was competitive. I had a good time, but also walked away feeling like I could have pushed myself by climbing some more difficult routes.
This competition was a bit different. I signed up in the Advanced category, knowing that I would be at the bottom end of the scale, but also feeling as though Intermediate wouldn’t challenge me enough. Intermediate was rated at 5.8-5.9+, and Advanced was 5.10a-5.10d. I’m consistently climbing in the 10a-10b range, so I chose Advanced.
Although I’ve been climbing a lot, I’ve been in a weird mental space and my focus while training hasn’t been stellar. So I walked into the comp feeling very nervous and a little off my game.
I started on the low end of the card to get warmed up. The first few routes went well; I was feeling good. Then I went to some of the higher-point routes on my list and started falling off. The frustration mounted, and I had to take a break to get my head back together. I struggled with frustration for the rest of the time.
I went in expecting that competing in the Advanced category would suddenly make me climb a few notches above normal. Not a very fair expectation.
I haven’t seen the results yet, but I know that I wasn’t competitive in my category. And that is ok, because I walked away having learned a lot, and there is great value in that.
Lessons learned from this comp:
- Self-honesty is important. I knew when I signed up that I’d be in the bottom tier of my category, yet I felt frustrated when I was falling off routes.
- My training needs to be more focused. I need to push myself harder and climb more routes that I fall off. I’m pretty sure I said this last time, too.
- A lot of the game is in my head. I have myself firmly placed in a 5.9 box. If I believe that I’m a 5.9 climber and no better, then I’m going to climb 5.9s and not push myself on the harder stuff. Being honest about my climbing ability means not short-changing myself as well as not over inflating. It goes both ways.
- I am a way better boulderer than I give myself credit for. I walked in thinking I’d avoid the bouldering routes altogether, and walked out feeling like those were my best climbs of the day. Awesome.
- I love climbing in comps.
That last statement surprises me after yesterday’s disappointment, but it’s the truth. I think the process fits really well with my personality. I do really well with specific goals, and having a competition to train for is really great for my climbing overall. I’m climbing well above where I was 4 months ago when I made the decision to compete. I enjoy figuring out the strategy at the actual comp (which I haven’t completely figured out yet). It’s really good for my route-reading skills, and it keeps me climbing on days when I’m feeling a bit *ugh* about getting off my butt.
I live in Minnesota. We have some good outdoor climbing nearby, but much of my climbing happens in the gym, on plastic. I love getting outdoors, but the truth is I don’t have the opportunity to do it very often. I’m not embarrassed to admit that I enjoy climbing in the gym.
So, I’m going to stay on the crushtrain and head down to Chicago in a couple of weeks to compete once more this season. I have yet to decide if I’ll go Intermediate or Advanced, but I am making it my goal to be competitive in the Advanced category for next year’s comps.
Out of yesterday’s frustration comes a renewed ambition and focus to better my climbing. And I’m pretty excited about it.